Pacific Horizon's Wairarapa itinerary
Discover the Wairarapa. There’s so much to do, so close to Wellington. Get set to discover a stunning region known for its wine and food, boutique shopping and great places to stay in a Pacific Horizon motorhome.
The Wairarapa is a perfect compact region to travel round with lots of variety. Here’s a suggested itinerary to make the most of your trip.
Head over the Remutaka Pass to Featherston and follow your nose straight to C’est Cheese. Here you will find an incredible range of New Zealand cheeses, chutneys, crackers and more. It’s the perfect place to top up on your antipasto platter supplies. Featherston is full of history and it houses the only Fell engine in the world at the Fell Locomotive Museum. It is also the only Booktown in New Zealand filled with second-hand and antiquarian bookshops – there are 8 quirky bookstores to explore.
Tauherenikau Motorhome Park is an ideal place to stay for the night, it’s right by the river and surrounded by beautiful ancient native trees, plus if you’re bringing your furry pal, Tauherenikau is dog-friendly and they’ll love getting out in the fresh air.
Top tip: Don’t miss getting a blue cheese scone and coffee from C’est Cheese, it’s the best scone we have ever tasted!
Martinborough is packed with colonial charm and is the perfect place for wine tasting with over 20 wineries most within walking or cycling distance of the quaint village square, laid out in a Union Jack pattern. Some of New Zealand’s best pinot noir comes from Martinborough’s family-owned vineyards. You can also do an olive oil tasting at Olivo Olive Grove, gin tasting at Reid and Reid or have a beer flight at Martinborough Brewery. Hire a bike and enjoy the slow pace in Martinborough, cycling on the flat roads is super easy and also popular, to make sure you’ll get a bike, book one with Green Jersey Explorer Tours before you go.
When it comes to winding down from the day, dinner and a movie is just the ticket, stroll or bike down to Circus Cinema for the evening.
Top tip: Grab a wine map from the Martinborough i-SITE and plan out your vineyard stops. There are some delicious lunch options too.
Stay: Martinborough Top 10
Head to Greytown Village known for great food and sophisticated shopping, cute colonial cottages, historic trees and extra-ordinary Schoc Chocolates. Just 10 mins up the road is Carterton and Clareville Bakery is a must stop for a coffee and sweet treat, make sure you try the cronuts!
A highlight experience near Carterton is Stonehenge Aotearoa. Explore the Wairarapa’s renowned Dark Skies on a Star Safari Night tour on Fridays and Saturdays at Stonehenge. A top place to head back to for the night is the Motorhome Park at Masterton A&P Showgrounds meaning you will wake up on a Saturday morning ready for the weekly Farmers Market. A perfect place to stock up with local artisan supplies making for a delicious breakfast.
Top tip: In Greytown you will find perfect parking for your motorhome down Hastwell St – there is parking on the right hand side opposite FreshChoice supermarket and it’s free! Give yourself plenty of time to browse the shops. Sitting on the deck at The White Swan with a beer is highly recommended too.
Stay: Motorhome Park at Masterton A&P Showgrounds – staying on a Friday night means you will wake up to the weekly Farmers Market on a Saturday morning.
Just over an hour away is Castlepoint, voted one of the country’s top 10 most loved beaches. The Wairarapa coast is full of great spots to swim and surf, there’s walking trails galore and a beautiful east coast vibe. On your way out stop at Rewanui Forest Park (it’s just before the Riversdale turn-off) and has a series of loop walks through a 334 hectare farm, taking in native bush and pine forest. Wrap up the day with a night off cooking and enjoy fish and chips on the beach, available at the Castlepoint General store.
Top tip: Park at The Farriers carpark at the north end of town by the roundabout at the top of Queen St while you explore Masterton. Everything is close by. Stroll to Entice or Don Luciano for a coffee.
Stay: Castlepoint Campground
For nature and conservation lovers you’ll enjoy Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre. Pūkaha is home to some of New Zealand’s most endangered wildlife including tuatara, eels, kaka, kōkako, kākāriki and the white kiwi, Manukura – the only white kiwi in captivity in the world. Pūkaha is also where some of Aotearoa’s endangered species are bred and returned to the wild. There are short strolls through the forest to see giant rimu, rata, kahikatea, and tawa trees, and afterwards, enjoy something to eat at the Kaka café.
A special option for those visiting in motorhome is an Overnight stay with Dawn or Night Tour. Experience the forest’s dawn chorus and soak up the early morning beauty of Pukaha’s Reserve, guided by their expert rangers. Enjoy a night’s stay then wake up for a two-hour loop walk in the nature reserve before heading to the café for a cooked breakfast. Or experience the wonder of the forest at night on a guided tour. These two tours provide a rare opportunity to stay in this special place.
Top tip: Track down the giant ginormous weta at Pukaha – don’t worry it’s a sculpture, not life sized!
Keeping in the bird theme, Tui Brewery is just up the road with its historic brick tower, cafe, quirky shop and yes… beer including some exclusive drops only available at the brewery. It’s the perfect stop for a bite to eat, have a brewery tour, order a tasting tray of the Tui beers then sit back and soak up the fun atmosphere, museum, great food and grounds.
From Tui Brewery, a neat way to return to Pacific Horizon’s depot is to carry on north to Woodville, then head over the Saddle Road and into Palmerston North. From here it’s only about one and a half hours to Plimmerton.
This combo route of Wairarapa and Manawatu is a great circuit drive and packed with variety. Short drives each day, and lots of see and enjoy in the comfort of your Pacific Horizon motorhome.
More about the Wairarapa can be found here: www.wairarapanz.com